Water company fined for two pollution offences in Devon

South West Water has been ordered to pay more than £150,000 after two separate prosecutions for polluting a stream and a beach in Devon.

The first case, in September 2014, involved a combined sewer overflow (CSO) discharging effluent into a stream at Woodbury near Exeter. The pollution killed more than 150 fish including minnows, stone loach, bullhead and eels. 

CSOs are designed to prevent internal flooding of properties during storms, and are not permitted to operate in dry conditions. But the sewer had become blocked by unflushable material including disposable wipes, which resulted in effluent discharging into the stream. 

The water company did not report the incident to the Environment Agency, which was eventually alerted to the incident by a member of the public. 

Pete Ball of the agency said: ‘It is important water companies regularly inspect and maintain their structures and assets such as CSOs to ensure they are operating in accordance with their permit and do not cause pollution.

‘While South ...

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